Souder’s humility a refreshing change
The revelation that Mark Souder has been committing adultery sent shock waves through Hoosier politics, and Souder has been blasted from all corners of the political spectrum. We can’t whitewash Souder’s sin, because it was evil. He betrayed his wife and his family. More importantly, he broke a covenant established in the eyes of his Lord and Savior.
That said, we should keep perspective on this. Once he was confronted about the adultery, Souder called a press conference, confessed his sin and announced his resignation from Congress. Souder did not shake his finger and proclaim "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." He did not pass the buck about "a series of failures" and shift blame to others. He was very open about his sin, confessing that he sinned against God. The tears he shed demonstrate that he is broken about his sin and is repenting before God.
Much has been said about Souder and his Christian faith. Since much of the attacks on Souder have been focused on his hypocrisy as a conservative Christian, it is appropriate to examine this from a theological perspective.
We are commanded as Christians to be sexually pure, but salvation does not depend on perfection. King David, a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery with Bathsheba. David then murdered his good friend Uriah to cover it up. When David was confronted by a prophet of the Lord, he repented in tears and brokenness and was restored. If Souder’s repentance is genuine (and I see no reason to believe otherwise) he will be restored to fellowship with God.
Lost in the gloating about Souder's fall is compassion for his employees. Congressional staffers know that they could be out of a job every two years. They take their jobs knowing that their employment is very unstable. What Congressional staffers do not expect is for their boss to abruptly resign from Congress with four days’ notice. Whatever we might think about Souder leaving office, his staff did not expect or deserve to have sudden economic hardship. We should have compassion on these people and pray for the staff that God will provide.
Thirteen years ago, I was offered a summer internship with Congressman Souder's office in Washington, DC. I was unable to accept the internship because I had recently been diagnosed with cancer and had to deal with the treatment of it. Mark Souder sent me a hand-written note expressing sympathy and wishing that I return to full health. It was something I did not expect and I am still grateful for it to this day.
Mark Souder is a good man. Yes, he sinned and he broke his marriage vows. Can any of us say we haven’t sinned? How many of us have murdered people in our hearts when a fellow driver does something foolish and dangerous on the road? The test of a Believer is not whether he is perfect, because there is only One Man who has ever been perfect. The test of a Believer is whether he is repentant of his sin and fights against it.
Mark Souder sinned, and his sin cannot be excused, whitewashed or ignored. But before we judge in a self-righteous manner, we should examine our own hearts so we do not fall in the same manner. (Galatians 6:1)